As small business owners, you probably wear a lot of hats – you’re the President, a Sales Rep, a Field Manager, etc. So it can be difficult to find time to be the Business Owner and make important business decisions. In addition, we often need to blend the roles of our team – your Office Manager may also be your HR Director, Bookkeeper, Customer Advocate, etc. Time management is key to balancing the roles in your business and nailing this hat trick. Here are some tips that can help you manage your own time, as well as help manage your team’s time.
In order for your company to grow, your team must also grow; therefore the first tip is to delegate tasks to your team. This frees you up to do the things you truly need to be doing as a business owner. It also helps your team to grow by giving them more responsibilities.
However, what if your team thinks you are delegating too many tasks? As leaders, it’s very important to be attentive to them. Are you able to recognize when members of your team are stressed or overwhelmed? If someone on your team is stressed, it’s time to have a prioritization huddle with them. Have them list all of the projects they’re working on, and identify which are the highest priority. Also, determine deadlines for the projects. They may have thought you wanted something finished by the end of the day, but you really just wanted it by the end of the week.
If you’re not sure if someone is stressed, just ask them! “How are you feeling?” “On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s your stress level?” Also, take a look at their DISC Profile report; this report explains how to best communicate with the person, and will help you to help them manage their time.
Another tip is to schedule time in your calendar for specific tasks. For instance, if you’ve been considering whether or not to buy a new van, schedule focus time on your calendar. Use that time to look at the numbers and make a cognizant decision. Also, once it’s on your calendar, you only have to think about it at that time. It frees up your head space to focus on other items for the rest of the day/week. In addition, make sure your team is scheduling focus time too. If your Office Manager needs to make calls to customers on Wednesdays to confirm their job start date, have her schedule time for that in her calendar. Keep in mind, “Discipline is remembering what you want”: this calendar tip only works if you stick to your schedule!
With that thought in mind… the next tip is to stick to your calendar! At this year’s Grand Summit, Steve McClatchy author of Decide, emphasized that we live by our calendars. Plus, just because you can’t complete something at a certain time, doesn’t mean you can’t complete it at all! For instance, maybe your Field Manager wants to promote a Painter to a Crew Leader and he comes to run it by you. However, you’ve scheduled this time to make follow up calls to open leads. Here’s a simple word track: “Actually, I’m in the middle of writing a proposal. Can you schedule a 30 minute huddle for later today or tomorrow so you and I can discuss it in detail?” Not only does this allow you to focus on the task at hand, but it also means you can fully focus on the Crew Leader discussion when the time comes. In addition, you’ve just managed your time AND your Field Manager’s time – now, neither of you need to think about the promotion until the time comes, and it allows both of you to work on other tasks in the meantime.
Time management is crucial to running your business successfully and efficiently, especially now that the busy summer season is upon us. Using these suggestions will help you stay on top of your game.
All the best,